Monday, January 6, 2014


*This looks like a long post and it is, but it is one of my favorite moments in South Africa so far. I hope you read it and enjoy!*
There are days when I doubt. Some days I doubt myself and other days I doubt humanity. On some really bad days I even can doubt my faith. Don’t even get me started on how hard the days are when I doubt all three. It seems that when I have these doubts I usually get a big slap in the face proving me otherwise. The morning of Mandela’s memorial service was one of those slaps in the face. Literally!

I made my way down to the local town, Turfloop, in hopes that they would be having a group showing of the memorial service. My friends and I were sadly disappointed when there was no viewing to be found; therefore we were going to miss the service. Since the trip back up at that time was going to be a hassle, we decided to make use of our time in "Turf " by grocery shopping and getting some lunch.
I told Maishe and Taylor to go ahead to lunch and I would meet them after going to purchasing a bus ticket. For those of you who are not aware, there are good times and VERY bad times of the day and month, to go and try and purchase a bus ticket in the same place that they give out government money. I unfortunately had chosen the worst time (mid day) and the worst time of the month (early-mid month). The line was outrageous, but a ticket had to be purchased and therefore I waited in it. I spent about 30 minutes in line praying for patience and being silent. Out of an effort to distract myself from the hour or so I had left in line, I began to talk to the girl standing behind me. We talked about what she was studying in school and I shared what I was doing here in South Africa.
After about 15 minutes of talking to this girl I began to feel like I was going to pass out. In the years past, this was not necessarily an uncommon experience and I have learned that all that I need to do is go and sit down somewhere for a few minutes. As much as I didn’t want to step out of line, I knew that I had to. I quickly told this girl that I had to leave and about 50 steps of leaving her I passed out on the brick ground outside of Shoprite. Next thing I knew, this young girl was at my side asking if I was okay. I felt fine, but embarrassed. I then began to panic a little when I looked down and saw blood all over the special Nelson Mandela newspapers I had just bought. She helped me move myself out of the way of foot traffic and pointed out to me that I had cut my chin. As I felt my chin I could tell that there was a pretty large chunk that was cut out. I tried very hard to keep calm and handed the girl some money and asked her to go and purchase me water.

While she was in the store, Maishe and Taylor came and looked for me. They found me all shaken up and since I had no way of seeing my face, they told me that I was definitely going to need stitches. The girl came back with my water and in a daze I said thank you and walked off with Maishe and Taylor to go and get stitches.

Dear Girl in the Shoprite line,
I am so deeply grateful for you, your help in my time of need and the fact that you stepped out of that long line for me. I pray that someone let you back into your spot in that long line.
The Girl With The Chunk of Chin That is Lying Outside of Shoprite

Doctors Office
As we left Shoprite I began to panic a little bit about going to the doctor. I really do not enjoy going to doctor at home, let alone in a foreign country. Not sure what the conditions and procedures were going to be like at the doctor made me worry. I kept this very much internal around the boys, but I asked a lot of questions like: Did the Dean recommend this doctor? Are you sure that this is the doctor that you went to when you lived here? Both answers to these questions were, yes.
We walked right into the doctors office and I put my name on a list, answered a few questions, and laughed at the receptionists comment about them not having any white skin to fill the chunk on my face. As I sat down in the waiting room, Obama was just beginning to speak at the memorial service. Taylor and Maishe joked that this was a blessing, because it allowed them to watch the service. I unfortunately missed the speech because I was called into a room not shortly after I sat down.
I hadn’t cried once since I fell, but as I walked into the office by myself  that's when the waterworks started. This gentle, patient doctor let me shed a few tears before he asked me how I was doing and if it hurt. I said between sobs, “It doesn’t hurt, I’m just really far from home.” He looked at me and said some of the most comforting words that I have heard since arriving in South Africa.

The same God who sent you here is with you today!”

Naturally the waterworks started again. (I am learning how emotional I truly am!). This doctor, not knowing who I am, or what I believe chose to share something with me that I needed to hear in the midst of my fear. Before I knew it my chin was stitched right up. I shared with him what I was doing in South Africa and without any hesitation he began to say a prayer for me right there in the office.  

Dear Doctor in Turfloop,
Thank you for showing me that God is present even in the crummiest of days. Thank you for stitching up my face and reassuring me that I wont have a heinous scar for when I go home. - and even if I do it is like I got a free tattoo.
The Girl Who Could Not Stop Crying in Your Office

On this day in Turfloop I learned so much.  I should not doubt - I no longer should doubt my ability to do things on my own. I no longer should doubt humanity after a random stranger helped me. And I no longer should doubt God’s presence in my life - for He has been with me all along.

It is quite a beautiful thing that this all happened on a day that the whole world was coming together to celebrate the life of an exceptional man, Nelson Mandela. Individuals in this community came together to help me, a white girl, in a time that I needed it most.

Madiba, there is no doubt that your legacy continues through your people and their random acts of kindness.



  1. OH MY. Your adventure continues. Love your faithfulness and perseverance. Miss you all the time. Happy January. KMA!

  2. Hey Kelly!
    I loved your story. You are truly an inspiration!
    I know it must be hard to be so far away, but if it's any consolation, it was 16 degrees below zero with negative 45 degree wind chill yesterday.

    Your uncle with tears in his eyes as he reads your blog (a.k.a. Uncle John)

  3. Dear Kelly Mack!
    We loved your story. After we read it we reflected on what we are going to take away from your experience. We are all looking forward to being more kind to strangers because we may need them someday to help. We want to start to show more random acts of kindness and bravery towards others. We were inspired to act brave and tough like you in tough situations that come our way. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    The class who is jealous of your FREE tattoo

  4. Dear Girl I SMS All Day Err Day,
    Hearing about this via phone made me worried, hearing about it in person made me laugh, reading about it gave me such hope. YOU are an incredible woman with so much to offer your new community! I am glad that you found the bright side in a bad day.
    The Girl You Love to Giggle With
    P.S. Did the blood ever wash off the bricks?

  5. Kelly Mack I am constantly amazed by you! I love how genuine you are, all the time. it's a beautiful thing! Missing you & thinking of you all the time. If you get a scar on your chinny chin chin, we can be twins! Life ain't so bad.

  6. Hi Kel,
    Your reflection of this days experience is inspiring... No Doubt you are living by faith each and every day of your journey in SA. We miss you so much !!!
    Love Dad, Mom, Joey and Dougy :)